• Published 2nd Mar 2012
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A Dream - totallynotabrony



A not so standard human-in-Equestria story including but not limited to: democracy, tequila, and robots.

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Sparkle's Seven

It was take-your-weird-roommate-to-work day.

I don’t think it actually was. Twilight probably just wanted to keep an eye on me.

We went to the school and I hung out in her office while she did some paperwork.

“I’m bored, and this doesn’t help me get home.”

Twilight finished signing another paper. “I could give you some of these documents to process.”

“At least give me a bigger desk.” For some reason, she had me sitting in a student-sized desk with the built in writing surface. It was cramped, to say the least.

Twilight was about to reply, when the door opened and Starlight Glimmer came in with a stack of papers.

Despite my contorted seating position, I was on my hooves in an instant. Lacking anything else nearby, I threw the entire desk at her.

Starlight, as I’ve probably made clear in the past, was a very powerful unicorn. Still, she froze up like a deer in the headlights and it was Twilight that saved her from getting her head caved in.

As I saw the desk turn into a teacup, I charged at Starlight. Twilight yanked me off my hooves with magic and I ran in place midair for several seconds before realizing.

“What are you doing!?” Twilight demanded.

“Twilight, I told you what happened with Starlight in the other world,” I said. “And yet it was your idea to bring me to the school.”

“Uh...what?” said Starlight.

“And you didn’t even tell her to steer clear of me because I might want to kill her?” I said. “You’re really distracted today, Twilight.”

“Who is this?” said Starlight.

Spike came in just then with a letter. He ignored the ruined desk and me hovering midair inside a field of Twilight’s magic. Spike always had been one to just chill out and get over things. “Hey, look what just arrived.”

He showed Twilight the letter and she promptly dropped me. The letter was from Shining Armor. He wanted Twilight to meet him in Canterlot to see who would win the crown of Sibling Supreme. The letter included a picture. It looked like one of those cardboard ones from a fast food place, only covered in tin foil.

“Uh, I don’t get what’s so exciting about a toy crown?” said Starlight, echoing my own thoughts.

Twilight briefly explained. “When Shining Armor and I were small, we competed over everything. To keep it friendly, our parents gave us gold stars every time we did something special. Sharing, getting good grades, even telling a really funny joke. At the end of each week, we’d add up the stars. The sibling with the most would win the Crown of the Sibling Supreme - and bragging rights - until next time.”

“That explains a lot,” said Starlight. That was twice now that she’d said what I was going to say.

“I can't wait to get going,” said Twilight, heading for the door.

“Guess I’ll watch the school?” said Starlight.

“No you don’t, bitch.”

Twilight turned at my voice and I pointed to myself. “In the other universe, you put me in charge of the school for an entire year. I admit, I have some flaws, but you’ve already shown you trust me a lot more than some goddamn communist.” I pointed at Starlight.

“Well, I’m not me from the other universe,” said Twilight. “And at the moment, I’m not really sure I want you out of my sight. Plus, I want to get to Canterlot as quickly as possible, and that would probably be in your airship.”

If she was willing to acknowledge it as mine, then maybe I should go along with it before she changed her mind - or rather, realized her mistake. I shot a look at Starlight - I’m watching you - and followed Twilight.

As often as she had to go to Canterlot, I wondered why she didn’t have her own airship. I mean, you’d think it wouldn’t be too difficult for a Princess to get one.

We got to the castle and went inside. Everyone was kind of on edge. Just about every guard stared at me. To be fair, they had a good reason and I respected that - because that meant they respected me. We met up with Shining Armor and the Princesses - which would be a good name for a band, by the way.

They explained the terms of the deal, and how Twilight would go about winning the crown in a battle of the siblings. Battle of the siblings?

I put my hoof up to my mouth. “In the red corner, we have Shining Armor, chief muffin of the Crystal Empire.”

“‘Muffin?’” he said.

“It’s like studmuffin but not.”

I turned. “And in the blue corner, weighing in at too much because she doesn’t exercise, Twilight Sparkle!”

“Hey!”

Celestia looked amused, but broke in. “With the return of Sombra, Luna and I felt it was time to reinforce the castle’s defenses. I asked our old Captain of the Guard to handle the job.”

“The last time Shining was in charge of security, changelings invaded,” I pointed out. I glanced at Twilight and said in a lower voice, “Do I have that right? Did that happen in this universe, too?”

“He does have a point,” Twilight said.

“Oh, ouch,” said Shining. “But I’ve taken the security here to a whole new level. The only thing I need now is somepony to test it.”

Twilight gasped. “You want me to break into the castle?”

Shining nodded. “If you can get past my defenses, steal the crown, and get out, you'll be Sibling Supreme forever.”

“For-ev-er…” Twilight whispered.

But! If you fail, I keep the crown,” said Shining. “And you will, because there aren’t any holes in the security. I’ve designed a multi-tiered, impenetrable, triple-backed-up line of defense.

“The castle is surrounded by shards of Queen Chrysalis’ throne. Thanks to Star Swirl, its anti-magic powers are now tuned to stop anycreature from using a spell to get inside. You can't fly in, either. Giant fans keep anycreature from flying too close to the castle. Plus, the entrances to the tunnels below the castle have been sealed, so there's no underground access.

“Wait, so there are underground tunnels?” I said. “Oh yeah, that was where Cheerilee-”

I promptly shut my mouth. I hadn’t seen her since the last universe. Was she still a vampire? Did she still want me dead?

Shining ignored me and went on. “And even if you could get in - which you can’t - I've doubled the ranks of security. Ponies protect every hallway and door, which can only be opened with royal guard medals.”

I had noticed there seemed to be more guards around. Mares, too. Huh. I wasn’t sure when the Royal Guard had integrated. Mares would take up less space in tactical transport vehicles for quick deployment.

Shining kept going. “Even if you brought an army, the throne room is the safest spot in Equestria. I rigged a floor trap to activate at the slightest touch. But say you avoid the floor - still no luck, because I’ve employed nature's alarm system, in the form of honking, biting geese.”

“So why did you tell us all this if you want it to be a challenge?” I said.

“It’s that good.”

I laughed. Shining looked irritated. “It’s not like you’ve ever set up defenses for an entire castle.”

“Oh, go screw yourself.”

“Screw me yourself, coward.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ve never had sex with a stallion before, but I’ll do it to make a point, especially if it’s Twilight’s brother and she’s standing right here. Get your wife in here, so she can watch too.”

“Uh…” he said, suddenly backpedalling as I knew he would. And thank God he did.

I believe in getting the last word in, so that seemed like a pretty good time to take my leave. I took Twilight and Spike back to Ponyville so she could plan. Though it did seem a little like a waste of time to go to Canterlot for a five minute meeting.

Everyone ended up sitting around the command center in Twilight's castle discussing plans with the other Elements.

“So that’s what we're up against,” Twilight said, after finishing telling them everything.

“Whew. That’s a barrel and a half of obstacles. Plus a bushel and a peck of impenetrability,” said Applejack.

“And all of this to win some fillyhood competition with your brother?” added Rarity.

“It's more than that!” Twilight protested. “Well, okay, it’s exactly that. And also to protect the castle!”

“If it means that much to you, Twilight, we’re in,” said Fluttershy.

I was already in!” said Pinkie. “Come on, who doesn’t want to hang out with geese?!”

“Here’s the plan,” said Twilight. “We play to our strengths and defeat all of the security measures. That way, if one of us fails, the others will still have a shot at getting the crown. Pinkie, you’ll distract the guards with a surprise party. Applejack, you’ll buck your way into the sealed tunnels. Rainbow Dash, if anypony can outfly those wind turbines, it’s you. Rarity, you’ll sew us guard costumes so we can sneak past security. Then Fluttershy will disable the throne room alarm by charming the geese.”

I was wondering where I fit into the plan. I looked around. There were eight of us. Throw in a helper of my choice, say Sunset or Trixie, it would make an even nine. Spike had spines. The Spine Nine. Eh, maybe not.

Spike suddenly spit up a letter. “It’s from Shining Armor.” He muttered through it. “Tunnels...Pinkie party...Rarity costumes...he guessed your whole plan!”

I laughed. I laughed so long that even Pinkie was starting to get uncomfortable.

“Something you want to say?” Twilight grumped.

“Yeah. I’ll do it.”

“No!” said Twilight.

“I don’t know, I think Valiant might be very well capable of coming up with an unexpected plan,” said Rarity.

Twilight grumbled, but then said, “What’s your plan, Valiant?”

“Well, I can’t just tell you. I’m not going to make the same mistakes Shining Armor already did. But trust me, this is going to work.”

“That’s not good enough. Who else has a plan?”

Ouch.

In the end, she decided to let Rarity handle it. Unfortunately, Rarity’s plan was “let everyone else do their own plan.”

She and Rainbow were going to do noir shit and find the tunnels under the castle. Pinkie was apparently going to go into space to keep an eye on things. Applejack wanted to distract the guard ponies with a farewell performance by her alter ego, famous country-western superstar Apple Chord. Fluttershy and Spike were going to be some sort of super spy team.

I wasn’t even sure where to start with this. Rarity and noir, yes. Maybe even Rainbow too. I never figured Applejack as the alter-ego having type, but as a country artist who was friends with Coloratura? Plausible. Fluttershy and Spike as spies was such a stupid idea that it came back around to being so unexpected that it might not actually be that bad.

But one thing I had to address:

“Pinkie, I think space-based spy systems might be a little more effective than putting you in orbit to have a look at things with your own eyes. Okay, launching a dedicated satellite cluster is a little more expensive than I pictured for breaking into just one building, but Twilight knows I would do it.”

“Was your plan going to involve space travel?” Twilight asked.

“No, your brother ain’t shit. I was just going to walk in.”

“You can’t do that,” she said. “The guards have been doubled and there are so many other security measures in place.”

“And? Do you feel safer now? Do you think any of those things would have stopped Sombra?”

Twilight suddenly looked uncomfortable.

I went on. “Not to mention, they’re only designed to deter people from getting to the throne room. Nobody thought about, oh, the Princesses’ bedrooms, the royal vault, the dangerous magical item storage dungeon…”

Twilight continued to look uncomfortable. “I’ll bring it up to Shining.” Her look hardened. “After I win.”

“So you want to win?”

She stared at me. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to get the crown for you.”

“Why do you want to help me?”

“Because I love pentesting security to the point that I do it for free, constantly. And because as much as you and I have our disagreements, at least you’re powerful enough to actually make a difference in the world, even if you rarely do, so I do have a tiny shred of respect for you there.”

“That wandered back and forth from compliment to insult so much that I don’t know where it ended up,” said Twilight.

“I know.” I changed the subject. “Anyway, for this job I’m going to need Sunset and Trixie.”

“What for?” Twilight asked.

“Sunset to choke people and I know Trixie has smoke bombs and is good at climbing vertical surfaces.” I frowned. “Wait, is Trixie an eight-legged radioactive mutant in this universe?”

Twilight stared at me, mouth hanging open. She shook her head to clear it and started to reply, but I used her momentary pause to leave. I walked out humming the Mission Impossible theme. I was going to go break into the castle.

I reluctantly decided that it was going to be a lot of effort to recruit Sunset and Trixie if they didn’t remember me. That was going to take a lot of explanation, and frankly I just wanted to get on with it.

So I decided to forgo their help and just kidnap Shining Armor. I figured he was going to be a little bitch about it, so I waited until night to swing into his bedroom in the castle in the Crystal Empire.

He and Cadance were lying there together under the covers. I raised the obsidianized kitchen knife I’d gotten from the fight with Sombra.

Cadance’s eyes opened. I put a hoof to my lips. “I’m just here for Shining.”

By some miracle, possibly due to pony herding instincts, she matched my quiet tone, if not my mood. “What are you doing here!?”

“Shining said his security was impenetrable, so I’m going to show him it’s not. It’s a stupid game from his childhood years with Twilight.”

“The Sibling Supreme crown?” said Cadance. “It’s very important to him. Perhaps if you took me instead, he could also get the added gratification of rescuing his damsel in distress.”

I scoffed. “I came here to kidnap your husband.”

Cadane sat up in bed, still keeping her voice down to keep from waking him. “Shining couldn’t stand being the one needing to be rescued. As I said, it’s his thing.”

Reading between the lines, I thought I understood. “But what do you want? What about your thing? Why not try it the other way around?”

Cadance stared at me for several seconds. “I’m going to pretend I never saw you.” She lay down and closed her eyes.

I kidnapped Shining Armor.

He woke up tied to a chair in the hold of my airship on the way to Canterlot. I could have disguised myself, but honestly I figured there was no need.

“What are you doing!?” Shining demanded.

I stopped ringing the ship’s bell in his face. “I’m breaking into the castle. Nopony’s going to touch me if I’ve got you as a hostage.”

“I...I didn’t consider that,” he said.

“Also, you're easy to kidnap.”

I kept him hobbled and a magic inhibitor on his horn. I landed the airship directly in the castle courtyard as I had before and waltzed into the throne room.

As predicted, all the guards backed away when they saw my knife to Shining’s throat. Maybe they were wondering about his hairdo, which was shaped like the inside of a bell. They also stayed out of the way of our footwork. I didn’t even know Shining could waltz. He kept trying to take the lead, though.

In the throne room, I grabbed the crown and put it on my head. Then I let Shining go. “Your security sucks.”

“You are literally the only pony stupid enough to kidnap the head of the Guard in order to test his security system.”

“It’s not stupid if it works.” I started walking back towards the throne room entrance. I belatedly realized now that I didn’t have a hostage I was going to be fair game for the guards outside. Fortunately, Twilight and the girls arrived just then.

“You did it,” Twilight gasped. “How?”

“Shining knows,” I said. I winked at him, figuring he wasn’t going to sacrifice his pride, and dropped the crown on Spike’s head as I went by.

“He threatened my life and held me against my will,” said Shining.

Twilight grabbed me with magic for the second time that day. “You did what?”

I sighed. “What Shining meant to say was that I kidnapped him.”

“That just makes it worse!”

I gestured to the crown, still being worn by Spike. “I helped you win and revealed flaws in the castle security. I didn’t even dong your brother that hard.”

Shining quickly fixed his bell-shaped hair.

“Face it, Twilight, you need me.”

That was maybe the wrong thing to say.

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